Leon Haslam is feeling more confident about his chances heading into the opening round of the World Superbike Championship at Phillip Island after cracking the top six during practice.

The 2010 runner-up has struggled to find a good set-up on the BMW S1000RR so far this week, but fourth during FP1 and sixth in Q1 put him amongst the front runners at just the right time.

Hailing it as a 'step forward', while Haslam concedes there are still some issues to contend with, he is more relaxed heading into qualifying and the races.

"We are happy with how today went, and definitely made a step forward from the test. We found half a second in warmer conditions, which is not too bad. Carlos Checa is still the man to beat, but I am pretty close to the other guys, and that's the main thing.

"We now have to fine-tune some smaller remaining issues, but we are pretty much on the race pace now. As usual, we are pushing as hard as we can for tomorrow and Sunday."

It was a view shared by local favourite Troy Corser, who brought his lap times down significantly compared to the test to end the day in 11th.

"We have definitely made improvements with the bike. My bike's set-up is now pretty much the same as Leon's, and my lap times dropped down to the same as his in the morning. Obviously we have moved on, but still we are not where we want to be.

"Again, this afternoon, we tried some things but did not improve any further. After this morning's session, we should be happy with the qualifying result. We will now look into the data and see where we can make further improvements."

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